American Airlines Condemns Alleged Solombrino Behavior; Boeing’s GBTA Board Member Resigns

Joining other industry participants, American Airlines on Monday voiced its concerns about comments written by GBTA CEO Scott Solombrino. GBTA board member Kathy Briski, meanwhile, resigned from GBTA on Friday, a spokesperson for the association confirmed.

“American Airlines strongly condemns the alleged behavior of Scott Solombrino,” according to a company statement. “We applaud the GBTA staff who courageously brought these concerns to light, as well as the GBTA organization and their efforts to launch an immediate and thorough investigation. We will await those results.

“American prides itself on an inclusive culture that welcomes and respects all people, from all walks of life,” AA wrote. “We expect the same from our partners, and believe any behavior to the contrary must be stamped out if an organization is to succeed. We trust that GBTA will get to the bottom of these accusations quickly, take appropriate and swift action, and protect an organization that has traditionally been a strong partner in the travel industry.”

GBTA on Friday put Solombrino on administrative leave while it investigates allegations about the conduct of GBTA’s leadership described in a letter purportedly written by former and current staff.

Briski is a travel category manager at the airplane manufacturer. Media relations personnel with Boeing did not respond to requests for comment on Friday and Saturday about the company’s association with GBTA.

On Friday, travel tech firm Rocketrip posted on LinkedIn that Solombrino’s words and actions were “unacceptable and run entirely against what we stand for.”

“Our culture and business are built on empowering and investing in people, and the language used by Solombrino about GBTA employees, as well as his previous statements towards women that I am now aware of, are in complete opposition to that,” wrote VP of marketing Liam Moroney. “For that reason, my team decided that we would not continue to sponsor an event in which Solombrino was the host.

“I believe marketing leaders have an obligation to lead by example with our advertising dollars,” Moroney added. “The people we have worked with at GBTA have always been incredible and we stand by them and appreciate them.”

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Disclosure: The Company Dime currently provides content to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, like GBTA a corporate travel membership association, for a fee. The Company Dime is also in discussions with a private trade show organizer about its interest in launching a new expo in corporate travel. These are conflicts of interest which the reader should consider as part of their understanding of this article.

Jay Campbell

Author: Jay Campbell

Jay Campbell in 2004 created travel business newsletter The Beat, in 2006 co-founded Travel Procurement magazine and in 2010 integrated them with Business Travel News. He served as editorial director until 2013. Jay made his travel industry media debut in 1993 at the Air Travel Journal of Boston while earning his undergraduate degree in journalism at Boston University.


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And this just in … “GBTA’s European partner associations are aware of the investigation currently taking place in the U.S. following the allegations made in the trade press. Any reports of misogyny, sexism, racism or bullying are a major concern to our members. The language used in an email from the GBTA CEO to staff was alarming, and we are understandably worried about other claims made about the conduct of the association’s leadership. We will await the outcome of the investigation before making any further comment. Rest assured, we are in dialogue with the GBTA board and will keep our… Read more »

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SAP Concur has “terminated” its relationship with GBTA on the “national and international levels.”

“We have been deeply troubled by recent allegations about misogyny in its workplace, incendiary comments toward an elected official by its chief executive officer, and reports of a hostile work environment. While we believe in due process and will not pre-judge the outcome of this ongoing situation, we are resigning our corporate membership and executive committee seats. We will not be involved with GBTA until we are convinced the underlying issues have been fully addressed.”

The Company Dime

Here is a message sent from the GBTA Risk Committee to the association’s board of directors: Dear GBTA Board Members, Relative to the recent issues GBTA is experiencing, to make clear our unity on the matter, the Risk Committee stands in agreement that we will respectfully and collectively resign from our duties as a committee should Mr. Solombrino remain in place as CEO or in any capacity with the GBTA. Understanding that Mr. Solombrino’s appointment as CEO was entirely the decision of GBTA leadership, we strongly advocate that a full review of the Board of Directors be initiated. Additionally, we… Read more »